TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

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R. Smith
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TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#1 Post by R. Smith » November 22nd, 2019, 12:23 pm

I've always wondered what the 12/13% Ridge wines from the 70's were like when young. With the 2016 Ridge Demostene, I finally got my wish!

13.0% and 50/50 Zin/Carignane - intensely scented nose with cherry, cranberry and violets. The palate is lively and fresh with plum, cherry, cranberry, strawberry and raspberry. Well-structured, yet ethereal with excellent acidity and a long finish. A very impressive wine from Ridge and a style they need to explore further. Bravo! 93 Points
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#2 Post by Todd F r e n c h » November 22nd, 2019, 12:50 pm

Thanks for the tip - I"m in! Was looking for another Ridge zin to buy along with my mixed case of Geyserville/Lytton Springs
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#3 Post by R. Smith » November 22nd, 2019, 12:56 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 12:50 pm
Thanks for the tip - I"m in! Was looking for another Ridge zin to buy along with my mixed case of Geyserville/Lytton Springs
You're very welcome! Let me know what you think.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#4 Post by Todd F r e n c h » November 22nd, 2019, 12:58 pm

R. Smith wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 12:56 pm
Todd F r e n c h wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 12:50 pm
Thanks for the tip - I"m in! Was looking for another Ridge zin to buy along with my mixed case of Geyserville/Lytton Springs
You're very welcome! Let me know what you think.
If it arrives by Thanksgiving I'll crack one then for sure
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#5 Post by Eric Ifune » November 22nd, 2019, 2:58 pm

I've always wondered what the 12/13% Ridge wines from the 70's were like when young.
Very similar to the 15/16% Ridge wines from the 70's. neener

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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#6 Post by R. Smith » November 23rd, 2019, 4:59 pm

Eric Ifune wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 2:58 pm
I've always wondered what the 12/13% Ridge wines from the 70's were like when young.
Very similar to the 15/16% Ridge wines from the 70's. neener
I liked the greater range of styles in the 1970's, everything from sub 12% to 16+% late harvest. It's nice to see ridge step out of the 14% range for the Demostene.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#7 Post by Ben M a n d l e r » November 24th, 2019, 8:14 am

Totally agree with your note here. We’ve had this a few times in the past few months and it has absolutely killed every time. Wonderful stuff.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#8 Post by timmy roos » November 24th, 2019, 8:53 pm

Are these the same grapes that used to be in the sausal winery zins/field blends
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#9 Post by ClydeUnderwood » November 24th, 2019, 10:08 pm

timmy roos wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 8:53 pm
Are these the same grapes that used to be in the sausal winery zins/field blends
Yes.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=160723

I can confirm that this is great stuff.

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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#10 Post by Rich Salsano » November 25th, 2019, 4:14 am

Glad to hear as I have a few bottles in the cellar. I would also add their relatively new Boatman 100% zin is closer to this style than most of their other zins. We just had it last night and it was incredibly fresh, bright and sort of light on its feet. Pure fruit and not much new oak.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#11 Post by Todd F r e n c h » January 4th, 2020, 5:57 pm

Great Ridge wine right here - definitely stylistically more AFWE in terms of the sweetness of fruit (and apparently ABV!), as indicated in the original post, but it also features a huge, chewy tannic structure, bright, sweet and tart fruits, good complexity overall, seems like it could age well. To me, it seems bigger and bolder in style compared to their classics of Lytton Springs or Geyserville, yet lower ABV. A good option for Cab lovers like Jen :)
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#12 Post by Howard Cooper » January 5th, 2020, 6:38 am

R. Smith wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 12:23 pm
I've always wondered what the 12/13% Ridge wines from the 70's were like when young. With the 2016 Ridge Demostene, I finally got my wish!

13.0% and 50/50 Zin/Carignane - intensely scented nose with cherry, cranberry and violets. The palate is lively and fresh with plum, cherry, cranberry, strawberry and raspberry. Well-structured, yet ethereal with excellent acidity and a long finish. A very impressive wine from Ridge and a style they need to explore further. Bravo! 93 Points
Is it possible to make 12-13% wines from California anymore - with a few exceptions like as stated above. In other words, is this a question of picking decisions, farming practices, more efficient cultured yeasts, etc. (i.e, things that can be changed), or is it a question of climate change. Would a 12-13% taste unripe today because sugars go up more in the grapes before the rest of the grape is mature?

This is a question? I have had a 1978 Geyserville in recent years that was wonderful and I have had a number of Monte Bellos from the 1980s. Love them.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#13 Post by Todd F r e n c h » January 5th, 2020, 8:40 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 6:38 am
R. Smith wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 12:23 pm
I've always wondered what the 12/13% Ridge wines from the 70's were like when young. With the 2016 Ridge Demostene, I finally got my wish!

13.0% and 50/50 Zin/Carignane - intensely scented nose with cherry, cranberry and violets. The palate is lively and fresh with plum, cherry, cranberry, strawberry and raspberry. Well-structured, yet ethereal with excellent acidity and a long finish. A very impressive wine from Ridge and a style they need to explore further. Bravo! 93 Points
Is it possible to make 12-13% wines from California anymore - with a few exceptions like as stated above. In other words, is this a question of picking decisions, farming practices, more efficient cultured yeasts, etc. (i.e, things that can be changed), or is it a question of climate change. Would a 12-13% taste unripe today because sugars go up more in the grapes before the rest of the grape is mature?

This is a question? I have had a 1978 Geyserville in recent years that was wonderful and I have had a number of Monte Bellos from the 1980s. Love them.
While not as ripe out of the box as Lytton Springs, Geyserville, or the 'bigger' zins like Pagani Ranch from Ridge, it's far from unripe
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#14 Post by Adam Frisch » January 5th, 2020, 9:43 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 6:38 am

Is it possible to make 12-13% wines from California anymore - with a few exceptions like as stated above. In other words, is this a question of picking decisions, farming practices, more efficient cultured yeasts, etc. (i.e, things that can be changed), or is it a question of climate change. Would a 12-13% taste unripe today because sugars go up more in the grapes before the rest of the grape is mature?

This is a question? I have had a 1978 Geyserville in recent years that was wonderful and I have had a number of Monte Bellos from the 1980s. Love them.
It is mainly a picking decision. Even though the more restrained style is now back in fashion, I feel it's only back in fashion with somms and wine nerds, the general public (and to some extent the reviewers) still want the big styles. So it continues. But at least it feels like California is moving towards earlier picks and not having to water down and acidify a much as in the past.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#15 Post by R. Smith » January 5th, 2020, 10:38 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 6:38 am
R. Smith wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 12:23 pm
I've always wondered what the 12/13% Ridge wines from the 70's were like when young. With the 2016 Ridge Demostene, I finally got my wish!

13.0% and 50/50 Zin/Carignane - intensely scented nose with cherry, cranberry and violets. The palate is lively and fresh with plum, cherry, cranberry, strawberry and raspberry. Well-structured, yet ethereal with excellent acidity and a long finish. A very impressive wine from Ridge and a style they need to explore further. Bravo! 93 Points
Is it possible to make 12-13% wines from California anymore - with a few exceptions like as stated above. In other words, is this a question of picking decisions, farming practices, more efficient cultured yeasts, etc. (i.e, things that can be changed), or is it a question of climate change. Would a 12-13% taste unripe today because sugars go up more in the grapes before the rest of the grape is mature?

This is a question? I have had a 1978 Geyserville in recent years that was wonderful and I have had a number of Monte Bellos from the 1980s. Love them.
Fortunately, I think the answer is yes. Besides the Demostene, there are excellent wines being produced in that alcohol range from Arnot-Roberts, Enfield, Sandlands and Birichino.
Last edited by R. Smith on January 5th, 2020, 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#16 Post by Tom O » January 5th, 2020, 11:26 am

I have a couple of bottles sleeping, guess I need to wake one up. Thanks for the note Ryan.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#17 Post by Cris Whetstone » January 5th, 2020, 11:55 am

I also liked this Demostene Ranch bottling quite a bit. Note that it is not a Zinfandel. It's a 50/50 blend of Zin and Carignan. I've found a lot of the bottlings that contain a good dose of Carignan to my liking. I think it really adds that nice lift you want behind the fruit.

Another recent bottle that I ordered more of is the 2015 Ridge Lytton Estate House Hill. It's a blend of 56% Zin and 44% Petit Sirah from the oldest vines of Lytton Springs. It also has a great classic feel like the Demostene though obviously in a darker way.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#18 Post by Todd F r e n c h » January 5th, 2020, 12:30 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 11:55 am
I also liked this Demostene Ranch bottling quite a bit. Note that it is not a Zinfandel. It's a 50/50 blend of Zin and Carignan. I've found a lot of the bottlings that contain a good dose of Carignan to my liking. I think it really adds that nice lift you want behind the fruit.

Another recent bottle that I ordered more of is the 2015 Ridge Lytton Estate House Hill. It's a blend of 56% Zin and 44% Petit Sirah from the oldest vines of Lytton Springs. It also has a great classic feel like the Demostene though obviously in a darker way.
Thanks, Cris - knowing how often our palates align, I'll pick some up along with my re-order of Demostene
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

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Alas..

#19 Post by TomHill » January 5th, 2020, 1:22 pm

Alas, the old-vine Demostene Ranch (half Carignane/Zin) which was used by Dave Demostene for many yrs to make his rather rustic Sausal Zin, is gone/gone. Purchased by SilverOak and pulled out to grow Cab/Merlot. No more Ridge Demostene.
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#20 Post by Wes Barton » January 5th, 2020, 2:12 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 9:43 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 6:38 am

Is it possible to make 12-13% wines from California anymore - with a few exceptions like as stated above. In other words, is this a question of picking decisions, farming practices, more efficient cultured yeasts, etc. (i.e, things that can be changed), or is it a question of climate change. Would a 12-13% taste unripe today because sugars go up more in the grapes before the rest of the grape is mature?

This is a question? I have had a 1978 Geyserville in recent years that was wonderful and I have had a number of Monte Bellos from the 1980s. Love them.
It is mainly a picking decision. Even though the more restrained style is now back in fashion, I feel it's only back in fashion with somms and wine nerds, the general public (and to some extent the reviewers) still want the big styles. So it continues. But at least it feels like California is moving towards earlier picks and not having to water down and acidify a much as in the past.
One of the factors in Napa was a new rootstock that threw off the ripening balance, so flavor development came at higher brix. Those vines are being replanted, so that necessity is going away. Prior to that, leaf viruses were common. Those viruses inhibit photosynthesis, so sugars lag in development relative to ripeness.

So much more is known now about vine training, so growers can tailor what they're doing to account for issues of a site (and grape variety). Like, SLH wines used to commonly be picked at higher brix because the longer hang time was needed to bring up the pH to reasonable levels. They seem to have figured that one out.

Personally, I'm most interested in aromatics. Those can be lost with extended hang time, or not develop when picked too early. Ridge is a model for picking for flavor development, so the ABV of a wine can range quite a bit vintage to vintage. They certainly do still make Late Picked and Essence wines, as well as an occasional dip into the 12% range.
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Re: Alas..

#21 Post by R. Smith » January 5th, 2020, 2:43 pm

TomHill wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 1:22 pm
Alas, the old-vine Demostene Ranch (half Carignane/Zin) which was used by Dave Demostene for many yrs to make his rather rustic Sausal Zin, is gone/gone. Purchased by SilverOak and pulled out to grow Cab/Merlot. No more Ridge Demostene.
Tom
Hi Tom,

The source for this wine were the vines owned by Ed Demostene (Brother of Dave). This parcel was not part of the sale to the awfulness that is Silver Oak. Ed's Daughter Leisa is managing the vineyard and Ridge will be making a future vintage.
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Thanks...

#22 Post by TomHill » January 5th, 2020, 3:01 pm

R. Smith wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 2:43 pm
TomHill wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 1:22 pm
Alas, the old-vine Demostene Ranch (half Carignane/Zin) which was used by Dave Demostene for many yrs to make his rather rustic Sausal Zin, is gone/gone. Purchased by SilverOak and pulled out to grow Cab/Merlot. No more Ridge Demostene.
Tom
Hi Tom,

The source for this wine were the vines owned by Ed Demostene (Brother of Dave). This parcel was not part of the sale to the awfulness that is Silver Oak. Ed's Daughter Leisa is managing the vineyard and Ridge will be making a future vintage.
Thanks, Ryan. I was just assuming it came from Dave’s original Sausal Vnyd.
Tom

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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#23 Post by Cris Whetstone » January 5th, 2020, 4:28 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 12:30 pm
Cris Whetstone wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 11:55 am
I also liked this Demostene Ranch bottling quite a bit. Note that it is not a Zinfandel. It's a 50/50 blend of Zin and Carignan. I've found a lot of the bottlings that contain a good dose of Carignan to my liking. I think it really adds that nice lift you want behind the fruit.

Another recent bottle that I ordered more of is the 2015 Ridge Lytton Estate House Hill. It's a blend of 56% Zin and 44% Petit Sirah from the oldest vines of Lytton Springs. It also has a great classic feel like the Demostene though obviously in a darker way.
Thanks, Cris - knowing how often our palates align, I'll pick some up along with my re-order of Demostene
Usually those blocks go into the regular Lytton bottling. Pretty cool that they do special bottles like this.

---

Here is the Ridge tasting video for the Demostene bottling. Looks like Olney is standing out in the vineyard for this one.

I'm mostly posting this because Demostene is not pronounced the way I had it in my head.

Hoping it's true that Ridge will continue to get this fruit. I had understood it would be a one off.

WetRock

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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#24 Post by Todd F r e n c h » January 5th, 2020, 7:16 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 4:28 pm
Todd F r e n c h wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 12:30 pm
Cris Whetstone wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 11:55 am
I also liked this Demostene Ranch bottling quite a bit. Note that it is not a Zinfandel. It's a 50/50 blend of Zin and Carignan. I've found a lot of the bottlings that contain a good dose of Carignan to my liking. I think it really adds that nice lift you want behind the fruit.

Another recent bottle that I ordered more of is the 2015 Ridge Lytton Estate House Hill. It's a blend of 56% Zin and 44% Petit Sirah from the oldest vines of Lytton Springs. It also has a great classic feel like the Demostene though obviously in a darker way.
Thanks, Cris - knowing how often our palates align, I'll pick some up along with my re-order of Demostene
Usually those blocks go into the regular Lytton bottling. Pretty cool that they do special bottles like this.

---

Here is the Ridge tasting video for the Demostene bottling. Looks like Olney is standing out in the vineyard for this one.

I'm mostly posting this because Demostene is not pronounced the way I had it in my head.

Hoping it's true that Ridge will continue to get this fruit. I had understood it would be a one off.

Whoa! duh MOSS duh nee
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Re: TN: 2016 Ridge Demostene Zinfandel - An incredible AFWE wine from Ridge!

#25 Post by Adam Frisch » January 5th, 2020, 8:42 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 2:12 pm


Personally, I'm most interested in aromatics. Those can be lost with extended hang time, or not develop when picked too early. Ridge is a model for picking for flavor development, so the ABV of a wine can range quite a bit vintage to vintage. They certainly do still make Late Picked and Essence wines, as well as an occasional dip into the 12% range.
Totally agree. It's a fine balance.
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